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Full text of "History And Human Relation"

HUMAN    RELATIONS

in direct line of descent from the " abridgements of the
chronicles ".

It is possible, then, to exaggerate the literary character
or intention of the historical work that was being
produced as long ago as the seventeenth century. At the
same time it is possible to over-dramatise the conflict
between the men of letters and the men of learning, by
doing less than justice to the scientific labour and
intentions of the literary historians of more recent times.
The modern academic teacher of history has shown no
reluctance—so far as I can see—to press upon the
student the importance of writers like Gibbon and
Macaulay. Lord Acton, speaking in times when scien-
tific history was at its most proud and arrogant, re-
marked in this connection that after all one great man
was worth a dozen immaculate historians. Acton,
furthermore, took part in what must have been two very
interesting conversations on a point closely related to
this issue. In the one case he, Stubbs and Creighton
asked who was the greatest historian the world had ever
produced; and they decided in favour of Macaulay.
The other occasion was more imposing still; for this
time it was Acton, Mommsen and Harnack who debated
the same question; and these higher giants of an inter-
national learned world settled the issue in precisely the
same manner. Professor Pollard, who held so high a
place in the study of the Tudor period in the last genera-
tion, wrote in 1904:

It may be remarked that there is inadequate justification
for the systematic detraction of Froude's History which has
become, the fashion* He held strong views, and he made

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